This is a collection of modern verse offering the poet’s experience of the death of his partner and the years leading up to it. Said partner, Roger Horwitz, succumbed to AIDS during the late 80’s. It’s a tale of scouring and worrying—scouring because any infection could be fatal and worrying for the same reason. It tells of melancholy holidays, exhausting doctor’s office visits, and then the mourning. If I make it sound like Monette just jotted off about the mundane aspects of life, it’s this approach that captures the grind of the disease. This approach both creates a narrative and shows how life looks in the shadow of a terminal disease.
As the subtitle suggests, there are 18 poems in this collection. They are divided into three parts, though most are in the first part.
I found the collection to be evocative and the language to be clever.
This is a brief review because it’s a brief work—as one might expect of a poetry collection. It’s less than 70 pages inclusive of front matter and a biography of the author.